Calvert County, July 20, 2023 – The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Support Services Unit (SSU) recently celebrated the successful completion of training for nine new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) pilots. The three-day intensive training program equipped the pilots with the necessary skills and knowledge to operate drones effectively and efficiently.

The comprehensive training covered various aspects of drone operation, beginning with exposure to different models of drones. The pilots were then put to the test in a precision operation of the UAS using a NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) designed course, ensuring their proficiency in handling the advanced technology. The training program also included night-time UAS operations and numerous scenario-based training missions, simulating real-life situations to prepare the pilots for any potential challenges they might encounter in the field.

Before embarking on the hands-on training, all aspiring pilots had to pass the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Examination, a rigorous assessment administered at an FAA testing center. This examination serves as a crucial step in ensuring that the pilots are well-versed in the aviation regulations and safety protocols set by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The CCSO UAS program was first established in February of 2019, with an initial team of seven pilots and seven aircraft. Over the years, the unit has grown significantly, and to date, they have completed nearly 2000 flights, amassing an impressive 420 hours in the air. The unit’s missions have been diverse, ranging from Search and Rescue operations to Crash and Crime Scene Mapping. Additionally, the CCSO UAS Unit actively supports Patrol and Tactical Operations, Fire Ground Operations, and even conducts demonstrations for various groups.

With the addition of the nine newly trained pilots, the CCSO UAS Unit now boasts a team of 16 highly skilled professionals. Among them, eight pilots have been assigned to the Patrol Bureau, further enhancing the department’s capabilities in carrying out surveillance and monitoring activities.

The use of drones in law enforcement has seen a significant increase in recent years due to their versatility and efficiency. Drones enable authorities to access remote or hazardous locations, gather essential data, and make informed decisions in real-time, thus enhancing the overall effectiveness of law enforcement operations.

As the CCSO UAS Unit continues to expand, the community can expect improved response times and enhanced safety measures, thanks to the increased aerial surveillance capabilities of these unmanned aircraft. Moreover, the pilots’ extensive training ensures that every flight is conducted with the highest regard for safety and compliance with aviation regulations.

Looking forward, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office remains committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in law enforcement. By harnessing the potential of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, they continue to set a standard for excellence in public safety and community service.

In conclusion, the recent graduation of nine new UAS pilots marks another milestone for the CCSO UAS program. With their dedication and expertise, these pilots are poised to make a positive impact in maintaining the safety and security of Calvert County residents.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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